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Forgiveness As A Double-Edged Sword: When It Does (and Does Not) Lead To Transgressor Reparation Following Interpersonal Mistreatment At Work
Despite growing evidence highlighting the beneficial role of forgiveness in the workplace, research has found that forgiveness can be a double-edged sword: in some cases it leads to transgressor reparation; in some cases it does not. To reconcile these conflicting findings, we build on theories of restorative justice and moral emotions to develop and test an integrated model predicting prosocial reparation across three studies using different populations and designs, including scenario, behavioral simulation/game, and field-based critical incident experiment. Results show that following interpersonal mistreatment at work, victim forgiveness can decrease prosocial reparation by reducing the transgressor’s perceived harm and guilt. These effects are weaker when the transgressor believes the offense severity is high vs. low. We also find forgiveness can increase prosocial reparation via elevating perceived reconciliation and gratitude and these effects are stronger when the transgressor values the workplace relationship with the victim. Theoretical and practical implications are discussed.